Sindh govt ready to exploit potential of wind power corridors

KARACHI: A Sindh government’s plan to exploit the potential of wind corridors for power generation is seen meeting reality checks after decades it was first explored as the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) is close to finalise the plan of smart grid technologies of power transmission to get benefit of natural resources, said a senior official.

The STDC move came after it was awarded a transmission licence by the National Electric & Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) last year to expand its transmission network catering to Keti-Bandar-Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor.

Hopes are high and if executed as planned by the company it would prove a long-term benefit for the people of the province.

“The STDC is exploring various transmission line options and is actively working for dispatch of 50 MW for K-IV water project from the Dhabeji pumping station to cater to the Karachi’s water needs,” the official said. “Similarly, plans of other long-term projects are almost final and ready for execution. The province is blessed with natural wind corridor in south near Karachi with excellent solar potential. The plan is ready focusing on state-of-the-art smart grid technologies of power transmission to get benefit of these natural resources.”

Nepra, in November 2019, granted transmission licence to the STDC to act as provincial grid company (PGC) for the province in what emerged as a major achievement of the provincial energy department, which was lobbying and endeavouring aggressively for this status.

According to Nepra, the authority approved the grant of licences to STDC, setting the term of its licence to 30 years as infrastructure to be laid under the proposed scheme of arrangement has a useful life of 30-50 years.

“This licence to any provincial level entity was first of its kind development in Pakistan,” said the official. “It’s due to constant effort and hard work. Now it’s time to move on under the guidelines and procedures defined by Nepra. The provincial grid company is now moving forward to serve as the cornerstone of the government of Sindh’s energy policy being pursued to harness the massive potential to produce clean electricity, given its untapped renewable resources of power generation.” He said Nepra had allowed a cumulative annual wheeling outage allowance of 131.4 hours while the STDC had only consumed 61 hours that was 46 per cent of the allowed limit showing the efficient performance of the transmission line.

“There STDC exploring options of operation work under two types of business models,” he said. “In the first model the company may use the grid network of the NTDC and under the second, the STDC plans to transmit bulk power from business to business in Sindh which also includes K-Electric.”

The STDC’s transmission licence for a provincial grid company would cater to the Keti Bandar-Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor, the official said. However, he added, the insufficient national transmission grid capacity was hampering development of natural resource.

“The initial plan suggests that the STDC will build a new provincial transmission network in the wind corridor to harness wind power potentials,” he said. “The proposed network will complement national grid capacity.”

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